The Sailor Group

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David J. Sailor, Ph.D.



The central mission of Dr. Sailor's research group is to develop an improved understanding of the urban climate and built-environment system, its feedback mechanisms, and the potential for mitigating actions to affect change. Our specific short term goals are to:

(1) quantify the relative role of component parts of urban infrastructure in affecting the magnitude of excessive heat in urban environments;

(2) understand how indoor and outdoor urban environments will respond to the added stresses of long term climate change, population growth, changing demographics, advances in technology, and adaptive capacity of affected populations; and

(3) evaluate the likely effects including unintended consequences of planning and policy actions to mitigate the negative aspects of urban environments

We address this mission through a combination of laboratory and field work as well as computational modeling across scales: individual building elements (e.g. thermal performance studies of window, wall, and roof constructions); neighborhood micro-environments (e.g. urban canyon thermal comfort studies); and regional urban climate (e.g. urban traverse/measurement campaigns and mesoscale atmospheric modeling).

For a list of research funding and publications see Dr. Sailor's CV.


Indoor Air and Climate Change (2014-2017) - The US EPA has provided funding to explore the determinants of indoor and outdoor exposure to ozone and extreme heat in a warming climate and the health risks for an aging population. The focus region for this project is Houston TX. Initial project partners include Portland State (lead), NCAR, and the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. The overall goals of this proposed project are to 1) develop an integrated modeling framework to characterize current and future health risks of an older population to urban ozone and extreme heat, indoors and outdoors; 2) improve understanding of how emerging trends in building design and management practices affect indoor air quality; and 3) develop recommendations for enhancing adaptive capacity to reduce negative health outcomes during episodes of high ozone and extreme heat. 
Sustainable Urban Development in the Gulf Region (2012-2015) - With funding from the National Priorities Research Program of Qatar we have established a collaborative project to explore the extent and causes of spatial and temporal variation in the thermal climate of Doha, Qatar. Through this project our team will address three questions: (1) what are the ecological and socio-ecological consequences of local land use and land cover changes at neighborhood and regional scales? (2) how will varying patterns of urbanization interact with atmospheric conditions across regional gradients of climate and land cover to affect human well-being and ecosystem processes and services? (3) how can decision-making systems effectively adapt and respond to rapid changes within an urban context?
Green Building Research Laboratory (2009-ongoing) - With initial funding from Oregon BEST and the Portland State Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) we established the Green Building Research Laboratory as both a resource for industrial partnerships and an educational hub for green building studies on campus. This facility focuses on measurement and modeling to support the development and performance verification of sustainable building technologies. Subsequent funding for this effort has come from the US DoE, NSF, and various companies.
Green Roof Performance (2010-ongoing) - With initial funding from the NSF (2009-2012) and industry partners we established the Green Roof Integrated with Photovoltaic arrays (GRiPV) facility to explore the synergies associated with the combination of vegetated green roofs and Photovoltaics. This facility continues to host funded and un-funded spinoff studies. We have also extended our green roof studies to include PV-related studies on other project sites including an office building in Portland and a big-box retail store. We are investigating questions related to PV performance, role of irrigation in affecting runoff retention, role of roofs in affecting the urban energy balance, impacts on rooftop air conditioning system performance.

Mitigation Impact Screening Tool (2003-2014) - As part of an EPA-funded proejct we developed a web-based tool for assessing the magnitude of impacts from potential mitigation strategies (high albedo and urban vegetation) on air temperatures, energy use, and ambient ozone concentrations. The result - MIST - was available on-line from 2005 to July 2014. As the assumptions and modeling techniques used for MIST became outdated it was decided to take MIST off line pending availability of resources to create an update. Our team remains interested in revisiting this project to create MIST 2.0.

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